Armenian News Network / Groong


Armenian News Network / Groong
February 12, 2011
Entertainment Wire

by Sahan Arzruni


It was a thrilling evening.  An overwhelming occasion.  An
otherworldly experience.

It was a night at Le Poisson Rouge: the chic Manhattan cabaret which
has become the de rigueur performance venue for artists of all
stripes-classical, pop, or jazz.

And on this particular night, Le Poisson Rouge belonged to Tigran, the
Armenia-born jazz pianist.

Lean, sinewy, and shy, Tigran started off the program quietly -
introspectively-weaving the well-known Komitas tune "Kakavik" into his
opening solo segment.  But his treatment of this familiar ditty was so
novel, so appealing, that one forgot the melody's origin and
approached it as if it were a song by Tigran himself.  It was an
authentic individual voice, soaring over the capacity audience.

Gradually, other artists joined in.  First, a flugelhorn player from
Iceland, doubling the piano melody in its characteristically dark,
foggy tone.  Together they did a fantasy on "Nupar, Nupar" which would
have worked just as well for solo piano.

By the intermission, the band had grown to a quartet-and grown, too,
in its exploration of new forms, novel sonorities, and fresh ideas.
Indeed, the entire evening was a study in escalation, where the
expanding number of performers on stage reflected an ongoing build-up
in musical complexity, in compositional attitude, in the sheer
ferocity of the music.  At times once sensed an almost visceral bond
among the performers.

In the second half, with the group now at full size - incorporating
piano, vocals, sax, bass and drums - the impact became overwhelming.
Abrupt shifts in mood, rhythm, dynamics, and texture-all hallmarks of
Tigran's music making-focused the intensity, driving the listener to a
frenzy of sensory excitement.

I had heard Tigran previously, in 2006-he had just won the
highly-prized Thelonious Monk Award-and his gifts were unmistakable
then.  But in the intervening years he has developed into a true
master, and (I strongly believe) a major voice in the music field.

We hear almost daily of the difficulties afflicting our republic of
Armenia.  But how astonishing it is to see that, in spite of it all,
Armenia can still produce such a world-class artist.

				# # #

Master pianist Sahan Arzruni enjoys an international career, and is
also known as a composer, ethnomusicologist, producer, teacher,
lecturer, writer, recording artist and broadcasting personality.
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